14 May 2018

Govt to unfetter cheese-making regulations

7:46 pm on 14 May 2018

Artisan cheese-makers who have complained for years of unnecessary red tape are welcoming a government plan to relax the rules.

The first blue cheese made from the mould found in hay at Shenley Station.

Photo: Supplied

Some cheesemakers have complained that it costs more to meet Ministry for Primary Industries compliance costs than their entire tax bill.

Food safety minister Damien O'Connor today launched a new template to help producers meet food safety requirements.

More of the work will now be completed online, reducing the amount of travel by assessors that was adding to cheese makers' compliance bills.

"Cheese producers are required under the Food Act and the Animal Products Act to have a written plan to manage food safety risks on a day-to-day basis," Mr O'Connor said.

"Over the years this has become burdensome and costly for cheesemakers who build plans from scratch and have them verified under two laws."

Two cheesemakers, Biddy Fraser-Davies from Eketahuna and Jill Whalley from Katikati, have previously taken their case to a parliamentary select committee to protest the red tape they said was slowly strangling them.

Ms Fraser-Davies said today the changes would be tremendous for small scale cheesemakers.

"[It will] be a huge saving in cost and time."